FAA Completes Boeing 737 Max Recertification Flights

By Kurt Stolz on 2 July 2020
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An American Airlines 737-800 coach cabin

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration said they had completed the required the re-certification flight tests on the beleaguered 737 MAX on Tuesday.

The completion takes the 737 Max a step closer to FAA approval to return to service.

Over the course of three days, FAA test pilots and engineers evaluated Boeing’s proposed changes to the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, a flight control system that was implicated in two hull losses.

The certification flights were flown by FAA pilots although a Boeing test pilot was also on board. The tests were said to “include an array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to enable the agency to assess“ whether Boeing’s hardware and software changes comply with FAA certification standards, the agency said in an e-mail to House and Senate oversight committee staff members last week.

With the conclusion of the flights, there remain multiple steps that follow , including reports and analyses.  The FAA may, for example, also determine that pilots require additional training based on the changes and what has been learnt about the crashes.

The 737 Max was grounded in March 2019 following two crashes that resulted in the death of 346 people.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea on October 29, 2018, en route from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkai Pinang.  The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed 13 minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crewmembers.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, heading for Nairobi, crashed on March 18, 2019 just minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

The worldwide fleet of 737 Max aircraft has been grounded for almost 15 months following the two incidents, which roiled the airline industry at the time.

Boeing last year developed a software fix for the plane’s MCAS, which repeatedly pushed down the noses of the two jets that crashed.

Since then, other potential issues with the aircraft have emerged and the multiple senior Boeing officials including the CEO have been forced to resign as a result of their handling of the issue.

The hardware and software modifications are expected to address all currently open issues with the aircraft.

Even then, since the planes have been in storage for over a year, it will take some time to get them updated and perform any maintenance or testing before then can resume commercial service.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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